LA Times On LAX Baggage-Heist


Last week, I wrote about an ABC News piece where a former baggage handler was telling what REALLY was going on at the airports (access here).

LA Times LAX Baggage Heist

This week, there was this article in the LA Times about a ring of people that had been (or maybe some still are) working for Menzies Aviation at the Los Angeles International airport. They had gone though checked bags stealing the valuables and then selling them on sites such as Craigslist.

You can access the LA Times article here.

Here’s the reason why it is always important to report any theft:

“We have multiple companies that deal with baggage at the airport for  airlines. But one company had more reported thefts in their terminals than the others and so we began investigating their baggage workers,” said Los Angeles International Airports Police Chief Pat Gannon. “At any airport there are always theft of baggage, but we knew this was prevalent at Bradley and Terminal 4.”

It is pretty easy to figure out that something is going on if the number of reported thefts is statistically much higher compared to other terminals at the same airport.


Just a reminder. Don’t EVER check in any valuables that you couldn’t afford to lose or something that is irreplaceable.

I must have been very lucky over the years, as I have never had any bag completely gone missing (many delayed bags but I am always willing to collect the ca$h comps) or anything stolen from checked bags.

Once, I did a 7 week long around the world trip and Air Canada left my bag for the entire trip in Montreal. The bag arrived to the origin destination one day before me.

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  1. Hi John, Do you have any information on how to report thefts from baggage. It happened to me once but no one seemed interested. And also, if a bag has gone through 3 airports or so, how would I know who to accuse (or at least report it to)? Is this the police, if so where, or the airline?

    • You have to file a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) usually at your final destination with the last carrier AFAIK. Had my whole bag stolen once either by rampies or another PAX in Amman. EK station was less than helpful, so I took the issue straight to EK HQ when I was back in Dubai.

  2. When I check luggage (too big to carry on), I always make sure it’s completely locked (with TSA compliant locks of course). While it won’t prevent a determined thief, it’s a deterrent so that they’ll probably move onto a diff piece of luggage.

  3. I reported once the stolen goods to the airline and they said “you know how people are”… That’s it. Baggage handling is a part of airline for me as a passenger and if the airline doesn’t understand it the best way is to move to competitors (if you can). Flying with LH very often with long waiting time in FRA and MUC and never experienced any problems. Even once got a nice greeting label from MUC staff on my bag 🙂

  4. Travelling late evening from BCN to GVA on an Easyjet flight, I was asked to check in my carryon bag at the gate as the flight was full (they often do that). I was quite tired after long few days of meetings and travels, so I let them check it in with my laptop in it. The bag arrived without laptop. Filed the report with Easyjet, but nothing came out of it. No compensation was offered either.
    On my recent trip in Asia I was asked often by ground staff before checking in my bag if I had electronics there. I guess this is by far the most prized item, so grab all your electronics with you to the cabin at all times!


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